Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Glory of Sharma Farm

Thankfully (at least from Lindsay's perspective), we have a shipping container allowance as part of our assignment package. As a result, gone are the days of shopping limited to smaller and more reasonable items like pashminas, wood elephants, and tailored clothing. Enter the days where we can focus our purchasing pursuits on larger items. Larger items, as in, furniture.

At one of the first functions where we met other expats, Lindsay learned of a glorious place where others had been able to find and have restored unique pieces of furniture. Those other expats regaled her with stories of large restored Buddha heads and one-of-a-kind end tables. The name of that place is Sharma Farms.
Unassuming signage can barely contain the glory within.
For some inexplicable reason, it took Lindsay over a year to make the trip to Chhatarpur in south Delhi to the hallowed grounds of Sharma Farm. That didn't stop her from reminding me nearly every weekend that she couldn't wait to go. I wasn't stopping her from going. In fact, with the constant reminders I was almost trying to convince her to go so I wouldn't have to worry about it. My biggest concern that she had built the place up as some sort of bizzaro world furniture utopia. Thankfully, after her first visit while her Mom was here, she walked away impressed. Surprisingly, she walked away with only two smaller orders, a small red end table and a large framed mirror.

Last weekend, I tagged along as she wanted to go back. From what I can tell, the concept of Sharma Farms fairly simple. Walk the aisles, hope to find something that you could picture being restored, and have them restore it to your liking. The first and third pieces of that concept seem easy enough to execute. It's the second part that, upon seeing the glory of Sharma Farms, can be a little intimidating. While walking the aisles I was feeling neither inspired nor imaginative so that second piece was extremely difficult. To add to the intimidation factor, the place is large. I'm not a great estimator of acreage, but suffice to say there are sections after sections stacked high with discarded furniture. I'd be surprised if they knew their inventory.
Piles...
....and piles....
....and even a piano.
It's an odd retail establishment. There aren't price tags and there are very few salespeople walking around. They basically give their customers free reign of the premises and then you go back to the office when you find something you like. Scattered throughout the grounds are carpenters working to restore selected items. It's a little like walking around a working wood shop piled high with pieces and pieces of furniture.

When asked to describe our home in the U.S., I often tell people that it looks like Pottery Barn has gone to war with Asia. Something tells me that by the end of this assignment, thanks to places like Sharma Farms, Asia will finally claim victory in that war. Though in the spirit of full disclosure, close replications of all the items we've selected can likely be found at your local Pottery Barn.
Restoration in action
Unfortunately, no place in our house for a 30 foot canoe
Easily the largest selection of restored wooden horses I've ever seen

9 comments:

  1. What fun! This reminds me of a place in Indonesia, much smaller, but with decrepit looking antique Chinese furniture harvested from Buddha knows where. The workshop craftsmen were miracle workers and restored these pieces to works of splendor. You'd pick out a table or cabinet and they'd fix it up for you. If you didn't like it you didn't have to buy it. (We have several pieces.)

    Go for it, buy something from the Sharma shop! You'll have something unique.

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  2. All this stuff sells for a fortune over here! Carpe diem! Shopem! Buyem! You would throw back your head and laugh for hours knowing what I have paid for a few pieces!! Looks fabulous to ME and you HAVE a WAY to ship it home? Nirvana takes many forms sometimes!!

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  3. So what did you buy on this visit ... anything?

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  4. This trip was more of a scouting mission; no new purchases. When Lindsay went with her Mom, she found a small hand painted table and a 6-foot tall wood framed mirror. The table was delivered yesterday - I'm trying to get her to write a post about it will include pictures. The other stuff we've purchased (a print-block coffee table and a Rajasthani guard) was from Country Collection in Hauz Khas Village - much easier to shop there than Sharma Farm but not quite the same experience.

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  5. Hi - I am writing a guide to shopping in Delhi and I wonder if I may borrow some of these photos to add to the guide. The link is here, there are already many of my recommendations, but I have no photos of Sharma Farms, hence the request:
    http://pinterest.com/delhimagic/deepa-s-guide-to-delhi-s-bazaars/

    Regards
    Deepa

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for your email and the permission. I've linked back to this blog :) :)

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  9. Did anyone buy the furniture and bring it overseas? Would like to know what the process and cost involved is... thanks

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